Wednesday, July 10, 2002

It has been said young men are full of themselves, and Jefferson proved no exception. The shock of a rejection turned him more inward than ever. He began to keep a Literary Bible, as he called it, filling it with excerpts from his voluminous reading. Naturally he favored derogatory comments about women. From Euripides he culled a lamentation that described their sex as “a curse deceiving men” and the suggestion that “Mortals should beget children from some other source and there should be no womankind; thus there would be no ill for men.” A couplet copied from Pope’s Iliad - “To labour is the lot of man below / And when Jove gave us life, he gave us woe” – verified the fact life was a depressing affair. Evil, too, abounded, and Jefferson noted Cicero’s comment that “as soon as we are born and received into the world we are instantly familiarized with all kinds of depravity and perversity of opinions; so that we may be said almost to suck in error with our nurse’s milk.”

David Freeman Hawke, A Transaction of Free Men: The Birth and Course of the Declaration of Independence (38)

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

In all major socializing forces you will find an underlying movement to gain and maintain power through the use of words. From witch doctor to priest to bureaucrat it is all the same. A governed populace must be conditioned to accept power-words as actual things, to confuse the symbolized system with the tangible universe. In the maintenance of such a power structure, certain symbols are kept out of reach of common understanding – symbols such as those dealing with economic manipulation or those which define the local interpretation of sanity. Symbol-secrecy of this form leads to the development of fragmented sub-languages, each being a signal that its users are accumulating some form of power. With this insight into the power process, our Imperial Security Force must be ever alert to the formation of sub-languages.

-Lecture to the Arrakeen War College by the Princess Irulan

Brian Herbert (Editor), The Notebooks of Frank Herbert’s Dune